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While the world continues to plug away at understanding the scope, depth, and repercussions associated with the coronavirus disease, one of the strongest focuses remains on the treatment options that could save lives, prevent the disease, and help those conflicted with it recover.

Of those treatments, Hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, has been considered a potential therapeutic agent for those who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). That being said, there are limited studies and limited data on the effectiveness of these treatments as well as the consequences of such treatment. 

Those questions lead to the need for studies like a recent one published on May 11, 2020, which focuses on describing the association between the use of hydroxychloroquine (with or without azithromycin) and the clinical outcomes prescribing this treatment to patients who were admitted to the hospital diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Study: Understanding the Basics 

This study was conducted by reviewing a retrospective, multicenter cohort study of 1,438 patients hospitalized and diagnosed with COVID-19. In this study, patients (who were 59.7 percent male and had a median age of 63 years) from 25 hospitals were evaluated, representing 88.2 percent of the patients with COVID-19 in the New York metropolitan region. 

Patients who were considered eligible for this study had been admitted to hospitals in New York between March 15 and 28, 2020, and were diagnosed with COVID-19. Patients received exposures of either both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine alone, azithromycin alone, or neither.

According to the study, those who received hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both were more likely than those not receiving either drug to have diabetes, abnormal chest findings, O2 saturation of less than 90%, and a respiratory rate less than 22/min. The overall in-hospital mortality was 20.3%.

According to the study, logistic models showed that patients receiving neither drug faced less a higher probability of cardiac arrest as patients who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin but not azithromycin alone. Further, there were no significant differences in the relative likelihood of abnormal electrocardiogram findings. 

The Results of The Study: What Was Determined 

Primarily, the outcome determined from this study was in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes were cardiac arrest along with abnormal electrocardiogram findings. 

Mostly, patients who were hospitalized in metropolitan New York who had a diagnosed case of COVID-19 and was treated with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both did not result in a significant difference in the rate of the in-hospital mortality than those patients who were not treated with any of these. That being said, the study clearly states that the observational design of the study could limit the interpretation of these findings itself.

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